New book: Hell to Pay: Operation DOWNFALL and the Invasion of Japan, 1945-1947 by D.M. Giangreco

November 03, 2009
Subject: Hell to Pay is finally out

Hello Mac (and Alan) !

Attached is the intro material for Hell to Pay: Operation DOWNFALL and the Invasion of Japan, 1945-1947 , and The Soldier from Independence: A Military Biography of Harry Truman which was released by a different publisher a few weeks earlier.

Hell to Pay's preface is rather long, but if there was one thing that I took from my time at Military Review is that a significant number of reviewers read the front matter, first and last chapters, and flip through the rest.  With so many deeply ingrained misconceptions re the invasion of Japan, I decided to functionally write the copy myself for the particularly lazy ones.

Interestingly, the second edition of my lovely wife Kathy's The American President. US was released in Sept.  What an odd quirk of the publishers' schedules to have three books release in such a short time!

MacArthur's plans for the use of your 1st Corps will surprise even Americans who are well read on the closing operations of the war. There is very little awareness on this side of the Pacific that, as things were tracking at the time, some iteration of 1st Corps was likely to be fielded separately from --- and well ahead of --- the "Commonwealth Corps" proposed by Churchill. The books easily available in the US just keep repeating and repeating the same information on the Commonwealth Corps with virtually nothing on the negative reactions of the Canadian and Australian governments/commands as well as MacArthur.

The blurbs:

Author Giangreco describes in horrific details the American planning for the invasion of Japan, which would have been the largest amphibious assault in history.  He convincingly shows that "both sides were rushing headlong toward a disastrous confrontation in the Home Islands" and that it was prevented only by the sudden conclusion of the war in August 1945.  Giangreco’s account, based on exhaustive research and informed by special insight into military operations, will refute revisionist theses, especially the contention that Truman‘s and Stimson’s projection of American casualties was a "postwar invention."
--- Sadao Asada, author of From Mahan to Pearl Harbor: The Imperial Japanese Navy and the United States

Truman unleashed the atomic bomb to avoid the appalling casualties of invading Japan.  Revisionists condemn the morality of the war-ending “miracle of deliverance” by belittling the butcher’s bill.  Tapping little-known American and Japanese records of 1945 Giangreco lays bare the gruesome bloodbath had Operation Downfall been launched.  Case closed.
--- Edward S. Miller, author of War Plan Orange: The U.S. Strategy to Defeat Japan, 1897-1945

Hell to Pay is a truly impressive work of military history.  D. M. Giangreco brilliantly examines not only the military planning of the United States for the anticipated invasions of Operation Downfall but also the unrelenting defensive preparations of Japan in its Ketsu Go campaign.  This important book is filled with crucial insights and fascinating details about the strategy and tactics of each side as they moved towards a bloody and costly culmination of their fierce conflict.   It constitutes essential reading for all those who truly want to comprehend Japan's defeat and the end of the Pacific War.
--- Wilson D. Miscamble, Professor of History, University of Notre Dame, is the author of From Roosevelt to Truman: Potsdam, Hiroshima and the Cold War.

Hell to Pay is a comprehensive, revealing, extensively researched description of American plans and preparations for the invasion of Japan, with important new information and analyses.  Especially valuable are its detailed explanations of force requirements, manpower and redeployment problems, and Japanese defensive measures.
--- Stanley L. Falk, former Chief Historian, U.S. Air Force

From Stanley Weintraub's foreword:

"The complex conditions perceived by both Japanese and American decision makers, and the difficult assessments made at the time, require, in Hell to Pay, the portrayal of vast arrays of numbers.  In few books about any subject other than astrophysics are figures more provocative, and more persuasive.  Giangreco turns number-crunching into high drama."


Well done to you both.

I do not believe that Operation Downfall is well known, certainly not in my country.

Your work fill a yawning gap in the history of the Pacific war.

I also think that President Truman was a much underrated US President, I for one will always be thankful to him for his courageous decision to bring the war with Japan to a swift end by using the Atomic Bomb.

My ship the heavy cruiser HMAS Shropshire as part of the bombardment force to be used in softening up the Japanese homeland prior to the planned landings would have been very much in HARM"S WAY.

Sincere congratulations.
Best wishes,

November 05, 2009 4:01 PM

Hello Mac!

You'll get a kick out of this. Naval Institute Proceedings published much of Hell to Pay's first chapter as an article in their last edition (attached).

They must be still suffering under the weight of the Tailhook episode some years ago as "bevy of beautiful babes" in the book appears in the article's opening paragraph as "bevy of young women". Oh well.

The editor, Paul Merzlak, said some great things about HTP in his column up front. I was delighted to see the
comment I've highlighted below in red:

  . . . . The first day of September marked another
anniversary-70 years since the start of World War II.
The end of that bloody conflict six years later has been
the source of heated debate for decades.  Critics have
questioned whether it was necessary for the United
States to drop atomic bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaki
when it appeared the Japanese were decisively beaten and
ready to surrender. Many readers no doubt recall the
controversy over the Smithsonian's proposed Enola Gay
exhibit in the 1990s.

  Military historian D. M. Giangreco attempts to put this
argument to rest once and for all in his new book out
this month from the Naval Institute Press, Hell to Pay:
Operation Downfall and the Invasion of Japan, 1945-1947.
 We offer you a sneak peak on page 64 (sadly, we had to
excise his endnotes here for space reasons -- they alone
are worth the price of the book).  He shows that the
Japanese still had the capability and will to resist the
expected U.S. invasion of the Home Islands.  Giangreco
spent more than a decade researching and writing on this
topic, patiently examining countless boxes of both
Japanese and American operational and tactical planning
documents.  In this age of bloggers and instant
analysis, his work will make historians everywhere

  Bravo Zulu, Mr. Giangreco!

I'm glad he took the time to examine the end notes. They are a book in themselves -- some 35,000 words.


ps. With any luck, I can get them to send you a book.


To have a copy would indeed be great thank you.

Best regards,

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